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A special type of machine that combines both needles and knives. It finishes the edge of fabric at the same time as it cuts off the excess. A…

A button with an extension on the back by which it is attached to the fabric. The shank is usually a metal be a loop. It creates a…

A light starch finish that gives fabric a little bit of rigidity without being too stiff. Can also refer to the more standard definition of “sizes” as in…

A Slip Stitch is a stitch created with a hand sewing needle rather than your sewing machine. It joins two folded edges (or a folded edge and a…

Any item used for sewing other than the fabric or machine, includes pins, thread, hardware, and more.

A machine stitch done along the raw edge of fabric to keep it from raveling. Considered a finishing stitch. The stitch allows the thread to wrap the edge…

A stitch made by a serger that finishes the fabric edge. Sergers are sometimes called overlockers outside the U.S.

Patchwork or “pieced work” involves sewing together small shapes of fabric into a larger design. Most commonly used for quilting projects.

Pattern notches are the marks (usually triangle shaped) printed on a pattern’s cutting edge. They are used to line up two or more pieces of fabric that you…

A ready-made cushion in one of a variety of standard shapes and sizes; the filling may be down, feather/down, polyester fiberfill, bamboo, etc. Used to fill out a…

Pins are used to hold fabric together prior to sewing. Many different kinds of pins are used in sewing, from straight pins to safety pins to long quilting pins. Pin…

Narrow, raised rows of fabric, created for a decorative look. A subset of pleating. Can be created by manually folding and stitching or with a pintuck presser foot.

A length of cotton cord wrapped with a bias cut strip of fabric. It can come in a variety of widths. Usually inserted into a seam as “outlining”…

A fold in fabric created for functional or decorative fullness. The folds can be standard or inverted, loose or stitching in place. It is used as both a…

Washing and drying a piece of fabric before using it in a sewing project. Preshrinking is important if the finished item is ever to be laundered once it…

Sewing a piece of fabric to the back of another piece of fabric and then cutting a decorative hole in the top fabric to reveal the fabric underneath.…

In general, any place on a project that calls for the fabric to be folded. In particular, some patterns will have pieces that are placed onto a folded…

The flat, foot-shaped piece on a sewing machine that presses down against the fabric to allow it to be moved along under the needle by the feed dogs.…

Having the ability to be permanently attached by ironing. Fusible items use a heat-activated glue. Many interfacing products are fusible.

When you see something within a fabric’s motif, and decide to cut it in a way that will precisely capture a specific section for a specific purpose, that…

Pulling fabric into miniature pleats either to compress it in size or for a decorative effect. To create a gather, one or two parallel lines of basting stitches…

A term that describes the direction your fabric has been woven. It’s important to know which way the grain is running, because fabric that is off-grain when you are…

A piece of fabric inserted to enlarge and/or add strength. In garments, a gusset is often inserted to add freedom of movement. In a bag, a gusset can…

The fabric on the inside of a project, backing the main or exterior fabric. Lining can provide an interior finish, add texture (such as the satin lining in…

The process of a sewing/embroidery machine stitching intricate thread designs onto fabric. It is traditionally done within a special hoop attached to the machine.

A miter is a corner seam that comes together at a precise 45˚ angle, like a picture frame. It is used as both a noun and a verb,…

A lettering design composed of one or more letters, typically the initials of a name, used as an identifying mark. Often embroidered on fabric to personalize articles of…

A basic cotton fabric often off-white in color and very inexpensive. It’s also used to refer to a prototype of a project. Because prototypes are often made out…

Nap refers to the short raised fibers on the surface of certain fabrics such as corduroy, luxury plush, velvet, and velour. Fabric with a nap looks different from…

The sharp item which the machine uses to push the thread through the fabric to form a stitch. There are many different types of needles for different types…

A heavy-duty plastic mat designed to be used with a rotary cutter. They are often made of self-healing material and have grids printed on them to make cutting…

A repair made to a fabric hole by repeated stitches going back and forth. This stitching can be done by hand or by machine.

The term that describes the way fabric hangs. Although most often used to describe garments, drape is also important when designing projects that feature large swaths of fabric,…

Adding surface decoration to an item. Can include: embroidery, appliqué, decorative stitching, beading, sequins, needlework, etc.

A fabric made with a combination of fibers, such as: cotton/polyester, wool/polyester, silk/cotton, wool/cotton, etc.

A standard pre-cut 18″ x 22″ in size. It is a generously proportioned “quarter yard” of fabric. Fabric is measured in yards. A yard is 36″. When you…

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